Prejudice is a judgment or opinion formed before one knows all the facts or such an opinion held in spite of the facts. It often involves suspicion, intolerance, and hatred. Sometimes it favors a person or thing without reason, and sometimes it opposes a person or thing without reason. Racial prejudice and religious prejudice are two of the deepest kinds of prejudice, sometimes affecting behavior to the point of insult, mistreatment, and violence.
Racial prejudice has interfered with the carrying of the gospel to some peoples of the world. TRhe Jews' mistaken evaluation of the Gentiles caused some to stumble at the right of all people to hear the gospel of Christ. Paul encountered much opposition from the Jews for his work among the Gentiles. Peter was called in question for associating with the household of Cornelius, and on one occasion he separated himself from the Gentile brethre because of some of the Jewish brethren coming down from Jerusalem (Gal. 2:11-16).
Racial prejudice is common to many races if not all of them. Some white people think that they are superior to black people. Some black people think that they are superior to white people. The Germans under Hitler were taught that tehy were superior to everybody of other races. The violen Aryan movement is a classic example of the destructive nature of racial prejudice.
Reality needs to shine upon many who are in darkness. Individuals of all races have the capacity to choose good and evil. In Christ there is no distinction between the races (Col. 3:11). Human suffering has been inflicted upon others by people of all races. Those who are responsible for causing such wrongdoing and those who commit such wrongdoing will answer to God for their sins (Rom. 14:12). It is wrong for people to blame whole races for the sins of some individuals of those races. The son does not bear the iniquity of the father (Ezk. 18:20). Again, reality makes us see that wickedness and human suffering take place within races, against those of the same race, as well as crossing racial lines. There is no room for racial prejudice and hatred in the lives of the people of God (Eph. 4:31; Gal. 5:19-23).
The gospel is a great equalizer. It exalts the lowly and humbles the mighty. Good people find favor with God. People are good when they reject sin and obey God. RAHAB was delivered by faith. RUTH the Moabitess was ancestor to David. ONESIMUS became a brother to his master. MATTHEW the tax collector became an apostle. The JAILER at Philippi washed the stripes of Paul and Silas and brought them into his own house to feed them, having become a brother to LYDIA. How many times we see God's grace erasing racial and social and economic barriers and making people to stand side by side as brethren! Let us be colorblind and be not guilty of respect of persons because of prejudice of any sort.
By Gilbert Alexander.
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